Happy Pride Month and Lawrence v. Texas Day!

On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme court invalidated state sodomy laws in the landmark case, Lawrence v. Texas. With this ruling, it was no longer possible to minimize the “gay lifestyle” as an illegal one. Justice Scalia dissented, “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court… that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda… It is clear from this that the Court has taken sides in the culture war…”

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case. In the 6-3 ruling, the justices struck down the criminal prohibition of homosexual sodomy in Texas. The court had previously addressed the same issue in 1986 in Bowers v. Hardwick, but had upheld the challenged Georgia statute, not finding a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.

“Lawrence explicitly overruled Bowers, holding that it had viewed the liberty interest too narrowly. The majority held that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawrence has the effect of invalidating similar laws throughout the United States that purport to criminalize homosexual activity between consenting adults acting in private. It may also invalidate laws against heterosexual sodomy based solely on morality concerns.

“The case attracted much public attention, and a large number of amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs were filed. Its outcome was celebrated by gay rights advocates, who hoped that further legal advances might result as a consequence. Conversely, it was lamented by social conservatives.”

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